Community of the Sisters of the Church

Trinity XV

20 September 2009

 St Peter’s, Petersham
 

Whoever wants to be first must be last of all and servant of all.

* * *

Being a good trainee reader I went in search of my trustee bible commentary, and found the following  . . .

The word for ‘servant’ here is perhaps better translated as ‘slave’.  The saying thus advocates a total reversal of the values of contemporary society:  all that is regarded as valuable and honoured in human society is here called into question, and the Christian must adopt the role of the lowest and most despised member of the social community.

* * *

And from the reading from Wisdom,

His manner of life is unlike that of others, and his ways are strange.

* * *

This is a complete reversal of thinking . . .  Jesus seems to spend a lot of his time trying to confuse his disciples and followers.  Take for example the parable of the prodigal son – one who became lower than the lowest, who ate with what was classed as ‘unclean’ was welcomed back in such a way . . . .  The forgiving father’s unconditional love of his son after his son as good as wanted him dead . . .

Then just before Jesus was tortured and put to death he does it again, Jesus, the Lord Most High, Son of God, knelt and washed his disciples feet, a role for the servants of the house . . . 

* * *

Whoever wants to be first must be last of all and servant of all.

His manner of life is unlike that of others, and his ways are strange.

* * *

And being very good at joining up the dots!  The whole feel of the passages today put me in mind of another example of the extreme.  One of Julian of Norwich’s revelations was about the Father and his Servant Son.  The following is not an exact extract, but parts of a meditation I wrote some time ago . . .

Our kind Lord answered me

mysteriously

a wonderful illustration

a Lord and his servant


The Lord looks at him with

gentleness

humility

compassion

pity

anticipating a glorious restoration

in abundance of grace

for love of his servant


And the Lord said

Look at my beloved servant

see what harm and distress he has suffered

in my service

for love of me

because of his own good will


Surely it is right to reward his

terror

fear

hurt

injuries

distress


All to be transformed into

honour & endless happiness


The servant is also Adam

The servant is also part of the Trinity

The servant is also Christ’s humanity

The servant is close to his Lord


Christ/God

union

closeness

love


The Son says to the Father

I am ready

I am wearing Adam

I will go

I will run

You can send me

You will have glory


Christ is the head

we are the body


God is the Goodness

the Love

the Glory

the Eternal


* * *


Whoever wants to be first must be last of all and servant of all.

His manner of life is unlike that of others, and his ways are strange.


* * *

A final thought, can we honestly confess to the words 

Whoever wants to be first must be last of all and servant of all.

His manner of life is unlike that of others, and his ways are strange.

Can we honestly stand up and say that we want others to notice that we are unlike them, that our ways are strange?

Do we spend our time trying to convince ourselves and others that we are not different? Or are we inviting others to join us because we are?

* * *

Whoever wants to be first must be last of all and servant of all.

His manner of life is unlike that of others, and his ways are strange.


Teresa Mary CSC